Building a content marketing strategy means deciphering what kinds of content your consumers will be attracted to, and how to build your brand into that content. But, of course, the entire purpose of digital content is to spread brand awareness and bring in more business. This is why your Call to Action (CTA) is so important. For every reason you have to post, you have a CTA. Regardless of the contents of your post, you need something short, sweet, and to the point that will get your readers to think, feel, or value what it is you want them to think, feel, or value.
Maybe for you, that means bridging the gap between your post’s content and a link to your services page. Maybe it’s how you offer a discount on your product after building trust with your reader through your content. Whatever the case, it’s all about working your consumers through the sales funnel.
Think less clever advertiser, more kid writing a letter to Santa. Your reader is Santa. Tell them what you want.
Stay On Track
What’s the purpose of the call to action? If it’s to visit another page and check out your company’s list of products and/or services, then it should be that simple: “Visit our products page to learn more about what we can offer you!” or “Learn more about what we can offer on our services page!” Don’t overcomplicate this, and don’t try to hide it behind something other than an obvious sales pitch.
If you feel slimy directing somebody to reach out to you for business after they get done reading a nice, informative blog, that’s okay. Just remember that the entire purpose for the blog is to attract new customers and/or clients. Also remember that the reader also understands this. So no need to beat around the bush and over-write—which is a terrible tendency even the best writers can possess. Instead, be clear as to what you are wanting the reader to do next and how they can do that.
Use Warm, Positive Words
If you actually have that slimy feeling in your gut as you craft a CTA, you should probably take a look at what you’re actually saying. Are you using words like “submit” or “order?” These are words that evil overlords use over their pawns. Relying on promises of something being “free” or “guaranteed?” This makes you sound like you’re hiding something. Does your CTA more or less beckon the reader, “Do this now!” in a commanding tone? This is how your bratty sister acts when she doesn’t get her way.
This is easily fixed by changing your verbiage a little bit. Instead of asking readers to order or submit or purchase anything (that’s a commitment you’ve just slapped them with, and it’s quite abrasive) you should encourage and invite them to explore or learn more about your products and services. This way, they don’t feel rushed and instead feel welcome to peruse your goods on their own and make their own decisions.
Test and Adjust
You might think that all you have to do is create a nice, welcoming CTA and you’re golden. Sure, that’s sometimes enough. However, you should be constantly looking for the best CTAs to use. This means analyzing how people are interacting with your CTAs. Be sure to review your analytics and see which of your blogs are sending traffic to the pages you link in their CTAs. Are their patterns between the more successful posts? Maybe your CTAs are more effective in certain places, or it could be that certain articles have more valuable content. The only way to know for sure is to keep experimenting.
This is where A/B testing can come in handy. Publish one version of a post with one CTA–maybe it’s very direct, or focuses on the perceived value of something you have to offer–and then publish an identical post with a different CTA–maybe it’s a bit gentler, or focuses on the customer’s pain point–and see which one gets more clicks. Use that knowledge for future CTA writing.
Connect to the Content
Finally, the most important point of all: focus on your content first. Under no circumstances should your CTA just pop out of nowhere. It should tie into the content of the post, connecting to the information to what you and/or your company can offer the readers. If your content is organically written, it will allow for you to offer valuable thoughts or ideas while also making a clear connection to the services or products you offer without turning into a used car salesman.
We tested this very important rule on our own blog, and found that when content is unique and well-written, it leads to longer average reading times, and visits to more subsequent webpages. Read our case study, Just Write Great Content, to see the results for yourself.
What a great CTA that was.